Everyone loves infographics – when they work well, they can be an amazingly effective way to communicate data. Of course, when they don’t work well, using one can really backfire on you.
Here are seven characteristics of an effective infographic:
Strong intro. The readers should be able to tell immediately what the infographic is about – if you’ve got a choice between a clever headline and a clear one, go with clear. If necessary, add a sentence, or maybe two, spelling out the premise. If it takes more than that to explain what you’re portraying, an infographic might not be the best way to do it.
Attractive visuals. Choose color combinations that will entice people to read more – nothing boring and nothing ugly (no matter what anyone tells you, chartreuse and maroon do not look good together). The color combos should work with other elements you’ll be using. For instance, if you’re using flags to identify different countries, an otherwise striking color scheme like magenta and violet may fight with the primary colors in the flags.
Sufficient contrast. Even if the colors all look great together, make sure there’s enough contrast between the type and background. As people get older, their visual acuity begins to decline, so don’t place emerald print on a teal background. If you don’t care that no one over the age of 25 can actually read the small print, of course, you may ignore this point.
- Use different colors or different fonts to distinguish between different kinds of information.
- The meaning of icons should be immediately obvious. If you need to provide an elaborate key, the icons aren’t doing their job.
- Number your points or provide arrows to guide the reader through the various elements.
Reliable data. Find the most up-to-date information and use only reliable sources like government agencies and industry organizations – and specify the date and source at the bottom of the infographic so the reader knows that the information can be trusted.
An overall story. It doesn’t need to be a complex narrative, but have a specific point in mind – and make sure that point is relevant and useful to your audience. You don’t want the reader asking “so what?” after scanning through your infographic.
Simplicity. A good infographic takes complex information and presents it clearly and directly. Remove everything that doesn’t serve this purpose.
Are you ready to tackle a new infographic for your blog or website? Daily Tekk has compiled an excellent list of tools and resources.